The 20 best scary movies streaming right now

If you love scary movies, then the age of streaming has been a true treat. After all, you have some of the greatest cinematic terrors at your fingertips, with freakish and frightening films available at your beck and call. Of course, some libraries’ horror selections are more likely to make you yawn than gasp. But if you’re in the mood to scream, we’ve got you covered with a definitive guide. Here are the best scary movies streaming this Halloween season.

Alien (1979)


Ridley Scott’s starship setting in Alien functions almost like a haunted house in space, being a place where nobody can run far and screams will rarely be heard. The film sees plenty of Hollywood icons confront a stalking xenomorph, including John Hurt and Yaphet Kotto, but Sigourney Weaver won the world over as the best final girl in the cosmos. As EW previously reported, Weaver believes that Hollywood just didn’t “know what to do” with her after she kicked serious butt in her breakout role. Fortunately, she’s gone on to become one of the most formidable actresses working today, and it all began with this story of her surviving the worst foe humanity has ever seen.

Where to watch Alien: Hulu

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto

Related content: Alien: Why it’s the best scary movie to watch this Halloween

The Babadook (2014)

Matt Nettheim/IFC Films

Long before he became an unexpected gay icon, the Babadook was delivering visceral scares that simultaneously pulled on our heartstrings. The movie constantly makes us question whether the central troubled child (Noah Wiseman) is truly connected to a storybook monster, or if he — and perhaps even his mother (played to chilling perfection by Essie Davis) — is declining psychologically. This is a particularly bleak scary movie for parents, proving we can never keep our children fully safe and stable. As EW’s critic noted in their review, “In an age when horror movies have mostly become lazy and toothless, here’s one with ambition and bite.” Just beware… the emotional scars from this particular bite will last a long time.

Where to watch The Babadook: Hulu

EW grade: B+ (read the review)

Director: Jennifer Kent

Cast: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Hayley McElhinney, Daniel Henshall, Barbara West, Ben Winspear

Related content: Nominated for Nothing: The Babadook

Barbarian (2022)

Justin Long in ‘Barbarian’.
Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Everything isn’t what it seems in first time director Zach Cregger’s Barbarian, right down to the name. A title like that might make you think this film will focus on fighting, or at least a rampaging beast. Instead, it’s a more off-the-wall meditation on monsters within, but it never sacrifices scares for such philosophical navel-gazing. Justin Long told EW that’s what drew him to the project in the first place, explaining, “I’ve read a lot of horror scripts and I’ve done a few of those movies, so it’s very rare to find something that breaks the convention and is that unique and original.” This is one of those scary movies that’s best enjoyed blind, so we won’t divulge more than that — just know you’re in for a wild ride.

Where to watch Barbarian: Max

Director: Zach Cregger

Cast: Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, Justin Long

Related content: Barbarian scares up $10 million at the box office with killer debut

Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022)

Erik Chakeen/A24

Like pineapple and pepperoni on pizza (yeah, we said it), horror and comedy provide an unforgettable mixture of saltiness and sweetness. That’s the combination that makes Bodies Bodies Bodies seem so fresh, setting the action in a ritzy mansion during an incoming hurricane where obnoxious party teens suddenly start dropping like flies. The Gen Z whodunnit hijinks are genuinely thrilling, and watching actors such as Rachel Sennott and Amanda Stenberg turn against each other leaves you guessing until the bitter end. To quote EW’s critic, this scary movie is “just straight-up fun: a black-hearted comedy of manners meets contemporary social nightmare, written in blood and vape smoke.”

Where to watch Bodies Bodies Bodies: Showtime

EW grade: B+ (read the review)

Director: Halina Reijn

Cast: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Rachel Sennott, Lee Pace, Pete Davidson

Related content: Bodies Bodies Bodies cast behaved like ‘feral beasts’ for that wild party scene

The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

Lions Gate/Courtesy Everett Collection

Those longing for a horror homage with more than a few new moves will love The Cabin in the Woods. On the surface, it’s the story of some hapless youths (including Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, and Fran Kranz) who just want to get away from it all. But under the surface (quite literally), mysterious figures help decide their fate, all while recontextualizing everything you know about classic slashers. Thanks to a script co-written by Joss Whedon, there’s plenty for genre fans to ruminate on here. As EW’s critic wrote, “The movie’s biggest surprise may be that the story we think we know from modern scary cinema — that horror is a fun, cosmic game, not much else — here turns out to be pretty much the whole enchilada.” If you’re in the mood for scenes as smart as they are scary, though, you’re going to enjoy every bite.

Where to watch The Cabin in the Woods: Max

EW grade: (read the review)

Director: Drew Goddard

Cast: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford

Related content: Cabin in the Woods: Joss Whedon and the cast talk about the horror of waiting

Child’s Play (1988)

United Artists/Everett

Ever seen a highbrow horror concept turn lowbrow in the best possible way? If not, Child’s Play is an ample introduction to that concept. The film begins with a mother innocently buying her son a redheaded doll. There’s just one problem: The toy, Chucky (voiced perfectly by Brad Dourif), has the soul of a serial killer and is all about committing murder and mayhem when nobody is watching. In our ranking of the franchise’s films, EW’s writer said this first entry “feels pointed and a bit angry about the feverish state of consumerism then and now, but thankfully it never becomes pious in its messaging…it’s a movie that just wants to have a good time.”

Where to watch Child’s Play: Max

Director: Tom Holland

Cast: Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Brad Dourif, Alex Vincent

Related content: You only Chucky twice: The strange story behind the two Child’s Play franchises

Creep (2014)

Blumhouse Productions/ Duplass Brothers Productions

Longtime horror nerds know that Blumhouse has a mixed bag of films. Fortunately, director Patrick Brice’s Creep is one of the better treasures in that trove, following a cameraman (played by Brice himself) who takes a Craigslist job that involves recording an off-kilter dying client (Mark Duplass) as an artifact for his unborn son. This setup makes for a refreshing and stripped down found footage film. Trust us: Even if you normally hate the format, you’ll love this bonkers tale that mines much of its scares from a surprisingly psychological angle. Ultimately, as Duplass told EW, the collective vibe of this movie was “Let’s just make it super weird and make it the crazy little monster that it is.” The result is an eye-opening exercise in terror that will especially impress those who think the subgenre peaked at the onset with The Blair Witch Project.

Where to watch Creep: Netflix

Director: Patrick Brice

Cast: Mark Duplass, Patrick Brice

Related content: The 19 best Blumhouse horror movies

The Descent (2005)


Subtlety is all good and fine, but sometimes we want a scary movie whose thrills are delightfully down to earth. Such is the case in The Descent, a film that literalizes the trope of characters descending into danger, seeing our adventurous female protagonists encounter creepy critters deep underground. EW’s critic mused that “Gollum might be a distant relative of these monstrous nightmares-made-flesh,” and these ghouls truly give the impression of Tolkien on steroids. Ultimately, this movie is a triumph for trading the claustrophobic terrors of a cabin in the woods film for the even more constrained carnage of a cave.

Where to watch The Descent: Max

EW grade: N/A (read the review)

Director: Neil Marshall

Cast: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, Nora-Jane Noone, MyAnna Buring

Related content: The best horror movies of the 2000s

Evil Dead 2 (1987)

Everett Collection

Evil Dead 2 is the rare sequel that is arguably best enjoyed before seeing the original. That’s because Sam Raimi is effectively (and more successfully) retelling the story of the first film. Once again, it stars Bruce Campbell as a man out of his depths amid zombie-like Deadites, but this time, the director swaps out his previous attempt at serious horror for something much more murderously madcap. In EW’s ranking of Raimi’s work, our writer declared this to be his “funniest and scariest movie to date,” and that Campbell shines “as a titanic master of physical comedy, delivering a gonzo performance at the exact intersection between the Three Stooges and Bruce Willis.”

Where to watch Evil Dead 2: Tubi

Director: Sam Raimi

Cast: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley, Richard Domeier

Related content: Bruce Campbell says he will star in another Evil Dead movie if Sam Raimi directs

The Fly (1986)

20th Century Fox/Everett

It’s rare for a remake to exceed the original in every way, but that’s certainly what happened with The Fly. Body horror maestro David Cronenberg directs this girl meets goop tale of a journalist (Geena Davis) who falls for an ambitious young scientist (Jeff Goldblum). When a teleportation experiment goes awry, an increasingly fly-like Goldblum looks more chunk than hunk and sends Davis (and everyone watching) screaming. As we noted in our Cronenberg retrospective, the dynamic duo is a big part of the film’s mainstream appeal: “The pair’s terrific performances and some still very gross special effects combine with Cronenberg’s assured direction to make The Fly one of the great remakes of all-time.” Scary, sexy, and scarring… three perfect descriptions for a film that, like the sight of Goldblum’s final form, you’ll be thinking about for the rest of your life.

Where to watch The Fly: Max

Director: David Cronenberg

Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz

Related content: Mel Brooks came up with one of the most famous horror movie taglines of all time

Green Room (2015)

Patrick Stewart in ‘Green Room’.
Scott Green/A24

We love it when scary movies deliver the unexpected — and that’s something Green Room achieves in everything from the casting to the narrative. We never anticipated seeing Star Trek alumni like Patrick Stewart and the late Anton Yelchin pop up as Nazis in a horror film, just as we weren’t expecting them to face off against a hardcore band in a fight to the death. The actors playing the young musicians dazzle as they hole themselves up and defend themselves against a prolonged, jackbooted siege. But as EW’s critic said in their review, it’s Stewart’s performance that has us transfixed: he’s “way scarier when he’s neither barking nor biting but just purring controlled threats,” forcing a generation raised on Star Trek: The Next Generation to ask ‘Who knew he was so good being so bad?'”

Where to watch Green Room: Max

EW grade: A- (read the review)

Director: Jeremy Saulnier

Cast: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Patrick Stewart

Related content: Green Room: Patrick Stewart discusses film in exclusive video

Hereditary (2018)


It’s rare for horror films to be family dramas, and it’s even rarer for that drama to be scarier than the specters and ghosts sparring with our characters. But that’s exactly what we get with Hereditary, a scary movie where the domestic tragedies will have you covering your eyes long before the supernatural stuff hits its stride. This Ari Aster film brings great performances from actors like Alex Wolff and Milly Shapiro, but it’s Toni Collette that brings the house down. EW’s critic praised her as “amazing, grounding what most people might dismiss as just a ‘scary movie’ with real dramatic power and force. She makes us feel in our marrow what it’s like to be a mother losing control of her family and maybe her mind.” A tale of motherhood and madness, Hereditary will stick to your soul like gum sticks to your shoe.

Where to watch Hereditary: Max

EW grade: A- (read the review)

Director: Ari Aster

Cast: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, Gabriel Byrne

Related content: Alex Wolff says horror movie Hereditary is a ‘family drama that smokes crack halfway through’

Malignant (2021)

Warner Bros. Pictures

Historically, scary movies have been low-budget affairs. However, Malignant is an alternatively (and relatively) high-budget horror film. James Wan’s work follows Annabelle Wallis’ character and her visions of brutal murders, but the more she looks into the matter, the more she realizes how closely she may be connected to all the violence. As EW’s horror critic noted, “the result is a deliciously nightmarish tale from a filmmaker keen to remind people that, before he was the director of Furious 7 and Aquaman, he was the man who brought us Saw.”

Where to watch Malignant: Max

Director: James Wan

Cast: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White

Related content: Malignant director James Wan reveals inspiration behind film’s jaw-dropping twist

A Quiet Place (2018)

Jonny Cournoyer/Paramount Pictures

What if cottage core could kill? That’s the implicit question posed by A Quiet Place, a film in which writer-director John Krasinski and Emily Blunt must raise a family on the road. But it’s not by choice: Society collapsed after the world was invaded by violent creatures who cannot see but track prey through sound, making any sudden noise or wrong move a near-immediate death sentence. It’s an inventive premise that won over EW’s critic, who wrote that Krasinski “has conjured a taut, breathless little trick of a movie around it: 90 minutes of slow-drip dread and well-earned jump scares that dissipate” and that he “builds a sustained mood in ways that feels both modern and pleasingly old-school, with its shades of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and other ’80s touchstones.”

Where to watch A Quiet Place: Paramount+

EW grade: B+ (read the review)

Director: John Krasinski

Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe

Related content: John Krasinski credits wife Emily Blunt for thriving career

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Mary Evans/AF Archive/Everett

Suburban horror is effective because no over the top movie monster can be more menacing than one’s nosy neighbors. Rosemary’s Baby (which is a powerhouse for Mia Farrow and supporting actors like John Cassavetes) is the terrifying tale of a very pregnant woman who, after moving into a new apartment, discovers something sinister is happening in both her building and her body. That domestic threat is all the more frightening because it lurks beneath a saccharine veneer: as EW’s critic noted, director Roman Polanski “understood that monsters don’t always advertise with fiery brimstone. Sometimes they come bearing casseroles.”

Where to watch Rosemary’s Baby: AMC+

EW grade: A- (read the review)

Director: Roman Polanski

Cast: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer, Maurice Evans, Ralph Bellamy

Related content: Rosemary’s Baby made our countdown of the 13 scariest movies of all time

Scream (1996)

David M. Moir

Do you like scary movies? Sure, it’s way less frightening when we ask the now-infamous question, but during Drew Barrymore’s landline call with Ghostface, it was more than enough to make the hair standup on the back of our necks. Enter: Scream, Wes Craven’s wildly entertaining and deranged mirror for the genre tropes he helped popularize decades ago. As a masked killer antagonizes the students of Woodsboro High, Kevin Williamson’s frenetic script empowers our teen screamers with agency and awareness via the hallmarks of slasher flicks, but only some will survive the targeted hunt. EW’s writer summarized the charm of this meta-horror, namely how “the characters lining up for the bloody body count were now pop-saturated teens weaned on horror movies” that “could recite the ‘rules’ of these films one minute and fall victim to them the next.”

Where to watch Scream: Hulu

EW grade: A (read the review)

Director: Wes Craven

Cast: David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, Drew Barrymore

Related content: Drew Barrymore is open to the (far-fetched) idea her Scream character could have survived

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Orion Pictures

Given that it unleashed the Hannibal Lecter cinematic universe, it’s refreshing to rediscover how beautifully restrained (a bit like Lecter himself) The Silence of the Lambs remains. It’s the story of a young FBI agent in training (Jodie Foster) trying to prove herself, but the narrative never turns full police procedural. And it’s the story of a notorious cannibal (Anthony Hopkins), but the narrative rarely dwells on his unseemly dietary habits. Instead, this strange film is about the oddly intimate relationship between the two as they collaborate to catch a killer. EW’s critic elaborated on the characters’ connection back in 1991, writing, “What Clarice and Lecter share is a desire for something that few besides born detectives would ever seek: the full, horrifying knowledge of human darkness.” And great news for scary movie fans: that vibrant darkness remains as powerfully chilling today as when the film first premiered (and became the first and only horror film to win Best Picture) over 30 years ago.

Where to watch The Silence of the Lambs: Max

EW grade: N/A (read the review)

Director: Jonathan Demme

Cast: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine

Related content: Silence of the Lambs: Jodie Foster reveals she and Anthony Hopkins were ‘really scared’ of each other

Smile (2022)

Paramount Pictures/Everett

Horror is a bit like history: even when it doesn’t repeat itself, the genre very often rhymes. That’s the case with Smile, a scary movie in the same vein as It Follows (2014), making the most out of a monstrous force that is passed along and possesses people in unexpected ways. The cast (particularly Sosie Bacon and Jessie T. Usher) do a great job livening these characters, who are instantly out of their depth when confronted with all this grinning ghoulishness. EW’s critic deemed first time director Parker Finn “a pleasingly nervy stylist, letting the camera tilt and flip at seasick angles and ratcheting the tension as he goes.”

Where to watch Smile: Paramount+

EW grade: B (read the review)

Director: Parker Finn

Cast: Sosie Bacon, Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner, Kal Penn, Rob Morgan

Related content: Smile director wanted horror film to feel like ‘sustained panic attack’

The Thing (1982)

Universal/Everett Collection

Part of John Carpenter’s magic is his masterful mixing of societal commentary with a healthy dose of kickass action. They Live, for example, has a lot to say about Reaganomics, but it works just fine as a movie about man vs. alien. That same us vs. them threat plays out in The Thing, a true horror classic in which Kurt Russell, Keith David, and others must survive an Antarctic invasion by an extraterrestrial with the terrifying ability to look like anything (or anyone) it wants. According to EW’s writer, this scary movie “isn’t concerned with messages; it’s just a terrifying meditation on paranoia and subzero dread” caused when the group “is infiltrated by an alien that assumes the bodies of its victims in very messy ways.” Sure, it could be a Cold War allegory, but it also works just fine as straight-up paranoid terror.

Where to watch The Thing: Peacock

Director: John Carpenter

Cast: Kurt Russell, Keith David, Wilfred Brimley, T. K. Carter, Richard Maser, David Clennon

Related content: The 40 best alien movies of all time

X (2022)

Mia Goth in ‘X’.

Care for a scary movie that knows how to shake up your expectations without shattering them entirely? In the Ti West period film X, we follow a ragtag group of young pornographers and videographers (including Jenna Ortega and Mia Goth) as they try to shoot a farmer’s daughter nudie in an authentic rural Texas location. But when the aging proprietors of the property disapprove of the smut film, they become unlikely killers out to show these youngsters they haven’t lost a step. EW’s critic sang praises for how this A24 film makes the characters’ descent into danger “feel both fresh and comfortingly familiar” while crafting a tale “that feels unpinned, ominous, and potentially unforgettable.”

Where to watch X: Showtime

EW grade: A- (read the review)

Director: Ti West

Cast: Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Martin Henderson, Brittany Snow, Owen Campbell, Stephen Ure, Scott Mescudi

Related content: Director Ti West on the locations of X, his grungy homage to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre